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This page features articles that have appeared in our club newsletter. It is a group of questions to and answers from one of our most knowledgeable members (Bryan McCleney). There are additional questions in the FAQs for this web site. If you like any of these questions and answers and want to learn more - come to our next monthly meeting as a guest to see what other things you can learn.

Click a question to open!
Click it again to close or click on a different question.

Do have a Koi or pond question that you would like to submit to Bryan?

Does Columnaris infect Koi? If so, what is the best remedy?

Yes it basically is a bacterial infection. Could be caused by overcrowding, overfeeding, stress, poor water quality and sudden changes in temperature. Usually it starts with white tufts around mouth initially then the tufts go to body and fins. You may have Koi with ulcers and they may appear thinner than before.

The most effective remedy for most bacterial infections is feeding medicated food containing tetracycline, romet, or oxolinic acid for 10-14 days. Medications used to treat fungus, anchor worm , ich and other parasites will be ineffective. Melafix, formalin and malachite, praziquantel, and salt won't work. So look for antibiotic medications like Nitofurazone, Furazolidone, Tetracycline and Oxolinic Acid.

If you know you have Columnaris, don't wait long to start treament. Best wishes Bryan

We are moving from Louisiana to Phoenix and we want to bring our koi, what do you recommend?

There are two parts to this question. One part, how do we transport and second, what do we do with the koi once we arrive?

The first part is bagging them with clean water and lots of oxygen per bag. Depending on the number of koi you have this may require lots of space in traveling. Another option is to work with a local koi club or koi dealer in Louisiana to help you prepare and ship your koi. There may be a dealer who can have your koi shipped to you in Arizona by plane (long istances). There is a tablet that helps transportation of Koi called “Bag Buddies” that helps koi handle the stress – Bag Buddies do not eliminate the need for oxygen only assist in the transportation.

If for any other reason that you want to physically bring them yourself, the time of year will influence the heat factors. You will want to provide additional oxygen – a car 12v DC - 120v AC inverter and air pumps may be an option. Keep the koi out of sunlight. When it is hot, insulate their transport container and keep in air conditioned car or truck. Check them each time you stop for gas, food, or other stops.

The second part of the questions is what to do when I get there. When you purchase your home, you could work with a local pond builder to start building your pond as you are preparing to move to Phoenix. Another option is to purchase an above ground pool and use a filter and pump to keep you koi in while you are building your dream pond. When you are ready to move you koi, don’t forget we are here to help at the Phoenix end of your journey, and welcome to Arizona.

Do you have any information for a city water chlorine filter?

Yes, the club will hold a DIY filter building class. This will attach to your hose. It will remove chlorine.

DYI Charcoal Filter Parts
Home Depot or Lowe's
1 each 24 inches of 2 inch schedule 40 PVC pipe
2 each 2 inch coupling
1 each 2 inch rubber coupling
2 each 2 inch by ¾ reducer (the ¾ needs to be threaded
2 each ¾ inch coupling thread male on one end and slip female on the other
1 each ¾ inch coupling for Hose to PVC. The female side of the coupling threads to a end of a hose. The male end is threaded and threads into the 2 inch by ¾ reducer.
1 each ¾ coupling female slip on one end and male threaded for attaching to a hose.

Petsmart or Petco
I box of activated charcoal
2 each Agua Pure 4 inch by 12 inch filter media bags

A PDF document with the parts and a picture is HERE


How do you introduce new koi from the bag into your pond?

The first thing you should think about is having a quarantine system. Placing your new (or returning from a show) koi in a smaller system for quarantine allows you to observe them and after time, when you know they are safe, you can introduce them into your pond.

The real issue is when you bring a koi home in a bag, you need to float the bag for about 20 minutes before releasing the koi that includes the quarantine location. I will always recommend removing the koi and keeping the bag of water and observe the koi.

If the koi stresses out or starts to go into ph shock I would put the koi back into the bag of water and see if it perks up. If it perks up, you know there is a big difference in the water and would start to add some of the pond water into the bag water over a period of time to slowly get the koi acclimated to the new water.

This happened to me when I was returning from Colorado where they have low ph. I had purchased two koi from Kodama Koi Farm and when I returned home I put the first koi in the pond. Within a minute the koi looked like it was sluggish or drunk. Within two minutes the koi turned over. I took it out of the pond and placed it back into the water from the bag and she immediately perked up and swam correctly. I placed the koi and the bag's water in a bowl and started to add water from the pond in 15 minute increments. After an hour, I was able put the koi in the quarantine system and it is still fine as of today. So remember, keep your water from the bag when you release your koi, you may need it.


Why is Koi pond water quality so important?

Koi are big fish. They are easily the biggest fish that can be kept as a hobby. They are also ravenous and fast growing fish. Koi eat just about anything and everything. And they excrete a lot of ammonia. In fact, produce more waste material Koi (ammonia) than other fish of equivalent size. But just because they're 'water pigs' doesn't mean that Koi can live in the equivalent of a pigsty. Yes, they are tough as far as fish go, but you must understand that 'tough' is relative. Fish are "open systems". This means that they are composed of the same water that they swim in. Nutrients, chemical compounds, oxygen, water; mineral salts, trace elements, ammonia, nitrites and so forth are all as integral a part of the pond as they are the Koi themselves. In other words Koi are constantly, continuously exchanging substances all the time with their pond water. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. You get the picture. Good Water equals healthy koi.


How do you select a finished koi for a show?

This is not as easy as one would think it is, especially for showa and sanke. A finished koi is one that confirmation, skin quality, scalation, and colorization is as close to perfection as possible.

Most show champions are in the gosanke class of koi (kohaku, showa, and sanke). A kohaku is a red (hi), and a white (shiro) koi. The shiro must be really white, not light cream or lightly grayish white. The hi can be orange or red, but even (the same hue) in colorization from head to tail. As the Kohaku grows the pattern may change as the koi grows from the bottom upward therefore changing the pattern in relation to the white portion and extend deeply toward the bottom of the fish, not just the upper half.

Showa and sanke have an additional color of black (sumi). The trick is to have the black, red, and white at their peak colors at the same time. Typically the red is ready before the black. In a few years the black is up and ready but the red is starting to fade. That is a very common issue in finishing koi. So on a showa or sanke typically the red is good in the front half of your koi and you are waiting for the black to come up in the front. Black has a tendency to come up first in the back half of you koi and later completes in the front half. However when the black arrives in the front the red in you koi’s tail starts to fall apart and fade or get secondary red (hi) that is pinkish in color.

As a young koi, the red looks great from front to the back and the black looks good from the back to the front. The goal is to have both arrive (finish) at the same time.


I just put in a pond a week ago, the water is cloudy, and now my koi are dying what am I doing wrong?

First of all I am sorry for your loss, but don’t give up on your koi pond. There could be multiple things going on that can cause problems. I would check the water quality to make sure that the water is within the right parameters for the koi, I would also check oxygen level in the pond, koi use a lot of oxygen. Usually if these chemical problem in your pond you will lose you small koi then your bigger koi. If you have an oxygen problem you will lose your big koi to small koi. Based on what your describing I would check the water,

Response: Last night I put a chlorine tab in the water fall to help clear the water and I woke up today with dead koi and they are still dying.

Answer: Chlorine is a chemical that is toxic to koi. You need to remove the koi quickly, and change the water. Your remaining koi may not make it. It will take awhile for your pond to create a good biological system for clear water.


What determines if a filter is "gravity" or “pressurized”?

There are different types of filters you can purchase or make for your koi pond. The question you need to determine is if you want to push or pull water?

Most ponds that push water have a pressurized filter, similar to a swimming pool filter. Between your pond (body of water) and your filter container is a pump that will take the water from your pond and push it through your filter and then back to your pond. If your filter was not a closed container, chances are the water would spill or pour out the top instead of going through a pipe back to your pond which would be a problem. Your filter would need to be a closed system, water tight, that would only allow the water to be pushed back to your pond through a pipe. In a closed system and you are pushing lots of water through a small container then through pipes. Pressure builds up in the container and the filters are designed to handle the pressure. These are often bead or other media biological filters.

In a gravity system you are pulling water. You have your pond (a body of water) followed by a pump that pulls the water. There may be a filter container (a second body of water), square or round, that holds water before the pump. In this first case, the water in the filter container is at the same height as the pond (not lower, or higher). When water is pulled from the filter by the pump it is replaced by the force of gravity from your pond. These are often vortex settlement filters. In the second case, there may be an open container after the pump (waterfall or trickle filter containers) that is above the pond level and uses gravity to flow the water back into your pond. The pump lifts the water to the higher level. You have to know the “liquid head lift” of the pump is larger than the height of your waterfall or trickle filter.

Both systems work. It is a matter of what you want, where you plan on placing your filter, and space. Pressurized systems are usually easier to install for a DYI project and provide flexibility. Gravity feed systems usually require less energy to operate but occupy more space.

I like both and use both. In my personal pond I have gravity filters, then my pumps, followed by pressurized filters. I had lots of space when building my pond.


I have a swimming pool I would like to convert to a koi pond. Is that possible?

Yes you can. As a matter of fact, that is what I did. I’m not sure if it truly saves any money, but if you only have space for one or the other I would always recommend a koi pond over a swimming pool. The biggest difference in the pond vs a pool is the filtration, plumbing, and pumps. Most ponds, depending on their size, have multiple bottom drains with 4 to 6 inch pipe connected to a pre-filter, then to a filter and pump and then returned to the pond with 2 inch pipe. Most swimming pools current plumbing is very restrictive in size and will not allow you to turn the water over every 1-3 hours as need to maintain your koi health. With most swimming pools you try to kill living organisms by the use of chemicals. In a koi pond you are attempting to create an eco/koi friendly biological system. You will need to run your pump, or pumps 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, provide aeration to the water, and you may want to add an ultraviolet light to help with algae. Your pool sand filter, although a source for media, will clog and instead of the sand providing a bio system it will actually prevent the flow of water or the sand will bind together and you will create channels for the water to flow through the sand filter but not through the sand. Join a club, a look at some ponds that are large like a pool. Your local club will have a list of vendors who can support you by building your pond, or providing you with the necessary resources to DIY. If all you do is empty change the water and throw in some koi, my guess would be your koi survival rate will be low. But after a few weeks it really won’t matter much. You won’t be able to see your koi and know if the koi have survived because your pool/pond will be very green, murky, and smelly. Remember, you’re the one who asked if you could turn your pool into a pond, not a toxic waste dump.


Do I need to do anything for my pond now that the weather is changing in the Valley of the Sun?

The other night while watching a baseball playoff game, everybody was bundled up and freezing, did I realize how wonderful our weather is right now in Arizona. This is the best time of the year for your koi. This is the season for you to increase your feeding and prepare you koi for the winter. I recommend that you slowly increase the number of times you feed you koi over a few weeks. I am trying to feed mine at about 3% which in my pond is about 2.5 to 3 lbs of koi food daily. Because of the increase in feeding I watch the koi and the water to make sure both are still healthy. If you get fecal material floating in your pond or lots of foamy white water you may need to back off a little or clean you filter more. I usually do a once a week water exchange of 20% and backwash my filters. During the next two months I will more than likely backwash my filters every few days in addition to the weekly 20% water exchange. What you want to do is build your pond and koi health up as we move into out cold month which will help your koi when it becomes spring, the time when we more than likely will have koi health issues.


Now that we are having cooler weather, should I do anything different with my pond?

My thought process on winter koi care in Arizona is not much different than is most other places in the country and it also depends on where you live in Arizona. It is much cooler in Northern Arizona than the Southern portion.

I recommend that you monitor your water temperature and observe your koi daily. Once your pond water drops below 50 degrees I would recommend stop feeding your koi. When the temperature drops below 43 degrees your koi they will stop eating entirely. As your water continues to cool Koi tend to gravitate to one another and lie huddled together at the bottom of the pond with all their fins clamped tightly against their bodies. This conserves body heat, which is important during the winter season. Once temperatures really drop, down in the 43 degree Fahrenheit range, Koi tend to go into what is described by some as minimal type state. Their senses such as smell and taste are completely inactive but they can still see and respond to some external stimulation, such as touch, or water movement below the surface. No matter where you live in Arizona I would not turn off your pumps and filters. Your filtration system will not work as effectively during the colder winter months, as the friendly bacteria in your filter will die off to some degree and will not reproduce so easily. However, your fish are still producing ammonia and it is vital that your filtration system is still functioning to keep your water quality in an ideal condition.

If you have a water fall I would bypass the water fall and shut it down. Koi stay healthier and have less health issues in a stable environment, and the more stable the environment the better off your koi will be. Waterfalls have a tendency to act as a super cooler and will actually make your water colder and in addition will push the cooler water towards the bottom of your pond and may create, based on the ambient temperature, a larger shift in the water temperature during a one day cycle. While usually heat rises and cold stays low, the opposite happens when water freezes. The surface freezes, and warmer water settles to the bottom, which is what allows the Koi to survive.

Shallow ponds have a more difficult time keeping the water temperature stable because when the weather changes water temperatures may fluctuate quickly. Finally you can choose to heat your pond in the winter and there are commercial heaters specifically designed for ponds that you can choose.


How do I winterize my koi pond in Arizona?

How you winterize your koi pond in Arizona is dependent upon where you live in Arizona. The needs of your pond in Flagstaff or Prescott are different than Phoenix or Yuma. Regardless of where you live in Arizona, or how you winterize your pond, It is important to continually monitor your water and koi. Know what your water temperature is throughout the day, Check ammonia and nitrate/nitrite levels often and observe you koi daily. Equipment, Pond Cleanliness, and Feeding are three important areas that you will need to make decisions about winterizing your pond.

Equipment: I would always make sure I have oxygen going to the pond year-round. You usually accomplish this through breaking the water surface by a water fall, air stones, or aerators. You can probably turn off your UV's and gain some extra bulb usage in the spring. I usually keep everything on. If you live in a part of Arizona that gets really cold you want to make sure your pipes don't freeze and or crack.

Many trees lose their leaves in the winter and they go in the one place you don't want them to go. In the pond! You may have been fighting algae all summer and looked forward to winter and now you have all these leaves in your pond. I recommend you scoop them out and clean your pond as good as you can. As the leaves decompose they steal oxygen and can create hydrogen sulfide. Don't wait until you koi become dormant to clean, moving a net around in the pond could cause excess stress and movement on your koi. If you have plants mixed with your koi It's a good idea to trim and remove any dying plant material.. In addition to oxygen your koi still need good healthy clean water. So check your water. The temperature for you to measure is in the pond, not the air temperature. In Arizona it can be 85 during the day and 45 degrees at night. Measuring water temperature is the most accurate way to determine when to change diet, stop feeding, and start feeding your koi again.

Koi will still beg for food in cold water, even down to the mid forties however the enzymes needed for the digestion of most Koi food will be lacking. The fish will eat, sometimes fully, and then languor in the cold water as their metabolism slogs the food through. I was able to feed most of the year in the Phoenix area by providing food that is easy to digest Such as wheat germ koi food, Cheerios. Koi love Cheerios, and just like most kids like the Honey Nut Cheerios better than the plain ones. They can even tell the difference between the generic cereal and real cheerios, but that's a different story. Another product available on the market is Manda Fu. Manda Fu can be fed in water temperatures as low as 45 degrees (once every 1 - 3 days). My recommendation on feeding is to first switch to wheat germ based Koi food and start cutting back the amount. I would follow this up with a diet of cheerios and Mandu-Fu. If you water is consistently below 50 degrees you should stop feeding unless you decide to feed Manda Fu. Most koi hobbyist stop feeding their koi or feed once or twice a week at the most.

Of course you can beat mother nature by brining your koi inside or by heating your pond. The good news is if you live in the Phoenix area, our winters are not very long, and you don't have to shovel snow or break the ice on top of your pond.


I have a 6-8 inch koi which is sky blue with a bright red belly it's only developed the red belly over the last year or so, I've never seen a koi like this and neither has anyone who has seen it, I was wondering if it would fetch a high price if I wanted to sell it?

A koi is worth what a person is willing to pay. It would be impossible to determine the worth of your koi without seeing it. Sounds like you have an Asagi or Shusui.

Image of Asagi Koi It is not a rare koi variety but it is an awesome looking koi. A great Asagi is worth good money. Usually you must buy them from a dealer or a breeder in Japan.

Asagi is one of the oldest types of Koi it has a blue back and red (hi) sides the blue scales are edged with white which gives the appearance of a net. The head should be light blue or white. The base of the pectoral fins, tail fin, and stomach and gill plates should be orange or red in color.

Image of Shusui Koi The Shusui is a scale less (doitsu) version of the Asagi and is a pale to light blue top with a darker blue/black looking zipper down the middle.

When you buy one of these for the most part you looking for a clean net pattern and clean head (no little spots/dots/speckles of blue) The red has a tendency to grow on the koi, and the blue gets darker so be careful when buying. Number one issue in koi is confirmation, which is hard to determine on a 6-8 inch koi.

I've had one good Asagi, and have tried to purchase others that have just not turned out. From my experience koi you buy and sell later go for about 5% of what you paid for them originally.


How do I buy a Koi at the Koi Show?


My pond water is not clear, how can I get clear water?

The most reliable method for achieving and maintaining clear water is to circulate your pond water through an ultraviolet (UV) light unit designed for ponds. However, UV light is not the only way this can be achieved. Clear water may also be achieved by “biological filtration.” That is, running water through a chamber that houses media suitable for the growth of “good” microorganisms that help in breakdown of waste materials. Keep in mind that clear water doesn’t necessarily mean healthy water. Conversely, green water (water with suspended algae) doesn’t necessarily mean unhealthy water. Fish are perfectly happy living in “pea soup.”


How often should the water turn over in the pond?

We recommend to turn the water over in a pond once every 2 hours (depending on the size of the pond). Once every hour is the ideal turn over rate in smaller ponds. Turn over means that all the water in the pond and filter cycles completely through the system.


Is most skin and fin damage on Koi caused by accidents or injury?

Frayed and damaged fins, raised scales and skin damage, such as reddening or open wounds, are often attributed to the fish cutting or damaging themselves on sharp objects in the pond. Although this can happen it is not common, spawning being the exception.

Believing this to be the cause, many aquarists leave the “wound” to get better, but invariably it just gets worse. The commonest cause of this type of damage is bacterial infection. Such instances need immediate attention. If caught early enough they are relatively easy to treat but in too many causes they are overlooked or dismissed as minor problems so that treatment is often given too late.


What is new pond syndrome?

The most important part of a pond is the filtration system. This keeps water clean, clear and free of toxins such as ammonia and nitrite that are produced directly or indirectly by the koi and from decaying organic matter in the pond. Efficient filtration relies on the presence of beneficial micro-organisms such as bacteria, algae and protozoa. However, it takes a while for some of these organisms to become established in sufficient numbers to be fully effective. During this time water quality may be less than perfect, creating a situation commonly described as 'new pond syndrome'. Many disease outbreaks and koi deaths can be directly linked to stress caused by poor water quality/new pond syndrome. New koi in a new pond may get sick and die due to ammonia and nitrite spikes from an un-cycled biological filter. An immature filter on a new pond (new pond syndrome) is the cause of this. It takes time to develop a population of micro-organisms within a filter. To allow the filter to develop adequately, koi should be gradually introduced, one or two at a time over a few months. Avoid overfeeding which again puts too much of a strain on an immature filter. You can also purchase commercial products that will speed up the process such as “Super Start Bacteria” for pond filters.


I’m thinking of building a pond, but I’m not sure where to begin?

So, I see you are thinking of building a Pond or maybe a Water Garden around your home....Well, let me tell you first hand, its a wonderful feeling to have designed, constructed and even accomplished this task!

You too can enjoy hours of relaxing and tranquil moments around your masterpiece. Easy? Well, let’s not say easy but it is obtainable if you follow a few simple steps.

• JOIN your local KOI Club and/or Water Garden Society.
• VISIT as many club members Ponds.
• TALK to several club members.
• ASK as many questions as possible (Dumb ones are the best sometimes)
• REMEMBER -Never assume you know all there is about building your Pond.

If you follow these 5 helpful steps, your Pond building experience will be a memorable one. Take it from someone who has been there and done that. Actually, if it could have been done the wrong way, I DID IT FIRST !!

WEBMASTER SIDEBAR: Build as large and as deep a pond as possible. It is recommended that you make it at least four feet deep and with bottom drain(s) (each covers a 12 foot diameter). Also, it is often written in articles, "I wish I had made it bigger!"


Are koi babies born or hatched?

Koi are not live bearers but lay thousands of eggs in a single breeding. Koi must be at least three to four years old and of sufficient size before they breed. Koi require special water conditions and environment before breeding. The eggs and baby Koi must be separated from the adult Koi or they will more than likely be eaten. The baby Koi hatch in about 3 to 7 days depending on the weather. The survival rate for baby Koi is less than 50%.

WEBMASTER Sidebar: There is an extensive article in the Jan 2007 VSKC newsletter on this web site about Breeding Koi.


One week it is cold the next week it is warm, then back to cold. Is this good or bad for my koi?

Fluctuating Spring temperatures can be extremely stressful for pond fish, especially goldfish and koi. Do not feed your fish until pond water temperature is consistently above 50°F. Feed an easier-to-digest wheat germ based food once water temperatures remain above 50°F. Add pond salt (2-1/2 cupfuls per 100 gallons for ponds without plants or 1-1/4 cupfuls per 100 gallons with plants) to help encourage a healthy slime coat so fish are able to naturally fend off parasites and bacterial infections.


How many Koi fish can I put in my pond?

The amount could range from 150 to 250 gallons per fish. If you are starting out with small 6" to 8" long Koi, they can reach 2 feet in three years, depending on how much food and how often you feed them. They could even grow to over 3 feet long! The overcrowding of fish produces stress and a lot of waste material. It can reduce the health of the fish and result in various diseases. Also, a less crowded pond is more pleasant to look at.


Is it ok to keep Goldfish in Koi ponds?

Yes, other cold-water fish such as Goldfish and Shubunkins will live happily in Koi ponds. However you should be aware that certain types of fish such as Rudd and Orfe are more sensitive to some medications. Make sure that you check any treatments before use in your pond.


How do I get my fish to eat out of my hands?

First you must get them to notice that you are the one feeding them. After they see you, take some steps back until the fish feel comfortable to eat. After some time your fish will begin to trust you and you will not have to walk so far away. Once they are at the point where you put your hand out and they all come up to the surface, start to lower your hand in the water with the food. Before you know it they will be eating right out of your hand.


I just bought a few Koi and was advised by the dealer to quarantine the Koi before putting them in my pond. How do I set a quarantine system that does not cost and arm and a leg?

Ideally you should have a small quarantine system going all the time. You never know when you will introduce a new Koi or need to remove one from your pond to treat. Many Koi keepers may not have the space to keep a system running. Here is what I recommend. If you do not have a soft or hard tank specifically designed for Koi try purchasing an above ground swimming pool. They come in many sizes, are easy to put up, and can be removed, and are relatively inexpensive. Robbi and I have had positive experiences in the past four years using INTEX above ground pools with a metal frame. I make a filter from 55 gal drums or trash cans. I always add an aeration system because it is very warm here in Arizona. Most on the INTEX pools I have used were able fit under a canopy for shade and that kept it cleaner, I have less algae, and the heron can’t see them. Remember when starting a new system to check you water quality because your filter is not mature.


I live in Phoenix and have a 2' butterfly Koi who has two sores on him. He had them when I got him about two months ago. A local Koi dealer who is now helping me with our pond advised me to get a Doctor. To look at my fish ASAP as his fins now have a red color to them. He is still eating and acts like he feels well but I am very concerned and do not want to let this go any longer. Do you have someone you would get me in touch with?

From what you describe your two Koi may have aeromonas (hole in the side disease). This disease is a severe gram-negative bacterial infection that starts out as small red spots, and soon develops into large ulceration's that eat their way through the fish. As the severity increases and the fish's immune system is being destroyed, multiple symptoms will start to appear. One of the diseases that is caused by Aeromonas bacteria is: Bacterial Hemorrhagic Septicemia (red streaking in fins and body, swelling, bloat, loss of scales, skin eaten away, abscessed ulceration's etc.) I would recommend going to by Doc Johnson for medical advise on medications and possible treatment. Methods of chemical treatment, (listed from most conservative to most drastic):

• External swabbing • Dip (five minutes in separate bath, aquarium) • Bath (30 to 60 minutes) • Sick tank or whole pond (low concentration for 12 or more hours) • Feed • Injection

There are many products used to assist with hole in the side and by going to your pet/fish store you can find them locally in AZ. I have used potassium permanganate (PP) on a cue tip, and I have seen others use iodine. Putting a product on a Koi that stings makes them unhappy so you may need to sedate them with clove oil. Below is an article on using a salt treatment (not table salt) the salt you would use for a pond (Morton’s salt in the brown bag from Home Depot). Unfortunately, your fish may die. Usually unless it is just a minor scrap the little red spot turns into a ulcer rarely does the Koi heal without intervention, it just gets worse. When you buy a Koi try to make an attempt to make sure it is healthy to start with. There are lots to choose from and it is better to pass on a sick Koi. I learned this lesson with Koi but I am now experiencing the same issue with a gold fish that I purchased that I knew was not healthy, yet I bought it anyways and I am attempting to nurse it back to health. It is a nerve racking process and I understand how you feel.

Salt Treatment:
In the June 1991 issue of Nichirin magazine is a report by Takayuki Izeki on using a very concentrated saline solution as an effective treatment for "hole-in-the-side" disease. The infected Koi can either be immersed (very short bath) in a very concentrated (saturated) salt solution (10 parts of salt to 90 parts of water) or the infected areas can be painted with the saturated saline solution. In addition it is recommended that an injection of Gentamycin be administered. The author feels that the saturated salt solution is more effective than potassium permanganate, malachite green, tetracycline, etc. With the immersion method, immersion time depends on the size of the Koi and the temperature of the water. Both are critical. If the pond temperature is 25°C (77°F), immersion time for a Koi 30 to 55 cm (12 to 22 in.) is 5 seconds; 6 - 7 seconds for a Koi measuring 55 to 70 cm (22 to 28 in.); 4 seconds for a Koi under 30 cm (12 in.). If the pond temperature is below 20°C (68°F;) you may add 1 second. An alternative is to anesthetize the infected Koi and liberally "paint" the infected area with the saturated salt solution. Then let the treated infected area be exposed to the air for 2 - 3 minutes before returning the Koi to the water. You can keep the rest of the Koi covered with a soft towel soaked with pond water. If the disease is bad, repeat the treatment in 5 days. In addition it is necessary to improve the pond water quality. ie: partial water change and clean excess organic debris from filter and pond bottom. Recent Z.N.A. research indicates that a concentration of nitrites above 0.0.5 ppm contributes to the disease. This is because their research indicates Flexibacter Columnaris is the primary infection, and takes nourishment from nitrous acid (nitrites) to reproduce. The protozoan parasite Epistylis is the secondary infection with Aeromonas as the third or final stage. Although most recent literature* mentions Epistylis protozoa as a cause of ulcer diseases in fish, most hobbyists in the U.S.A. only treat for bacteria when treating "hole-in- the-side."


Why is Koi pond water quality so important?

Koi are big fish. They are easily the biggest fish that can be kept as a hobby. They are also ravenous and fast growing fish. Koi eat just about anything and everything. And they excrete a lot of ammonia. In fact, produce more waste material Koi (ammonia) than other fish of equivalent size. But just because they're 'water pigs' doesn't mean that Koi can live in the equivalent of a pigsty. Yes, they are tough as far as fish go, but you must understand that 'tough' is relative. Fish are "open systems". This means that they are composed of the same water that they swim in. Nutrients, chemical compounds, oxygen, water; mineral salts, trace elements, ammonia, nitrites and so forth are all as integral a part of the pond as they are the Koi themselves. In other words Koi are constantly, continuously exchanging substances all the time with their pond water. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. You get the picture. Good Water equals healthy koi.


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